Periodic Patterning Of The Drosophila Eye Is Stabilized By The Diffusible Activator Scabrous

Avishai Gavish, Arkadi Shwartz, Abraham Weizman, Eyal Schejter, Ben-Zion Shilo, Naama Barkai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Generation of periodic patterns is fundamental to the differentiation of multiple tissues during development. How such patterns form robustly is still unclear. The Drosophila eye comprises similar to 750 units, whose crystalline order is set during differentiation of the eye imaginal disc: an activation wave sweeping across the disc is coupled to lateral inhibition, sequentially selecting pro-neural cells. Using mathematical modelling, here we show that this template-based lateral inhibition is highly sensitive to spatial variations in biochemical parameters and cell sizes. We reveal the basis of this sensitivity, and suggest that it can be overcome by assuming a short-range diffusible activator. Clonal experiments identify Scabrous, a previously implicated inhibitor, as the predicted activator. Our results reveal the mechanism by which periodic patterning in the fly eye is stabilized against spatial variations, highlighting how the need to maintain robustness shapes the design of patterning circuits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10461
Number of pages10
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Periodic Patterning Of The Drosophila Eye Is Stabilized By The Diffusible Activator Scabrous'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this